Tom Ingram joined the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) winners’ club in style, after racing to a commanding maiden victory in the 2016 curtain-raiser at Brands Hatch this past weekend in his Unipart sponsored #80 Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis.
As part of our previously announced sponsorship deal for 2016, a number of our Passenger Car and CV customers attended as our guests, thoroughly enjoying the high octane racing and excellent full-access hospitality of the Speedworks team. Tom’s car looked resplendent on the day with our Unipart brands highly visible to both the capacity crowd and viewers live on ITV4. This sponsorship allows us a superb platform to promote our brands, not only to the huge fanbase, TV and media but extensively through social media; in fact our social media activity generated over 40,000 impressions on race day alone across our various accounts!
In qualifying, Tom delivered on his pre-season promise, posting the best lap ever recorded by a touring car around Brands Hatch’s short 1.2-mile Indy layout to take his and Speedworks’ first BTCC pole position.
On a track still greasy and slippery in parts from overnight rain, Tom made a super getaway when the starting lights went out in race one and managed an early safety car period after an incident further down the order. He then found himself under pressure from Honda duo and past champions, Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal, but Ingram didn’t put so much as a wheel out-of-place.
As he flashed across the finish line more than two seconds clear, Tom was met by a rapturous reception from the Speedworks pit wall and the capacity crowd, who acknowledged an outstanding lights-to-flag performance and tremendously popular triumph.
Beginning the second outing from pole once again, the three-time Ginetta Champion and former British Karting Champion remained in front until a forceful overtaking attempt by Rob Collard resulted in contact that consigned his damaged Toyota to an early bath.
Following a rapid repair job by his Speedworks mechanics, Tom scythed his way through from the back row of the grid in the finale. Repeatedly setting lap times faster than the leaders as he showcased both the Avensis’ raw pace and his ability to make a pass stick. He ultimately wound up half-a-second shy of sneaking into the points.
“I still don’t think the magnitude of what we have achieved has sunk in yet,” reflected Speedworks Team Principal, Christian Dick. “This has been our strongest start to a BTCC campaign by a country mile. Tom was under pressure throughout race one, but he led flawlessly from the front like a seasoned pro and controlled it beautifully; and he even had a little extra pace left in his pocket had he needed it. It was a superb drive.
“I’m immensely proud of the entire team; we’ve finally proved what I’ve been saying we are capable of for a long time, and this result means so much to us all. Everybody is hugely excited moving forwards, and the key will be to sustain this level of performance.”
“I was able to control the pace quite comfortably in race one,” said Tom. “I felt like I could hold a half-second margin without too much trouble, and when I needed to push to open up a gap, I could do so.
“There’s no question that on paper, we shouldn’t be doing what we are doing. At the end of the day, Speedworks is only a small, family-run operation, but the awesome thing about the BTCC is that it gives teams like us the chance to shine and pull off some giant-killing exploits – and now David has beaten Goliath once, we want to do it again and again.”
The next BTCC round is at Donnington on Sunday 17th April – watch this space for our next review on Tom Ingram and Speedwork’s progress in this year’s championship.
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